Sporting their sorority T-shirts and smiling faces, the girls of the 2000 pledge class walked across campus. After a week of choices, mixed emotions and excitement, the difficulty and pressure of rushing is over and new friendships and memories have begun.
"You can't compare it to any other thing," said Mandy Gruchala, who took part in the week's activities.
Although many reactions can be different, one feeling remained constant with many women who rushed: exhaustion. They walked to house after house with smiles.
Inside those heads were minds at work, wondering if this was the house where they fit in best, where they would find their place. As women eliminated some houses and pondered over the rest, they became more intimate with the sororities they visited.
By the last day, the girls had narrowed their options down to three houses, and from Thursday to Saturday they waited. On Saturday morning, they stayed in their respective rooms from 8 until 11. Most women were excited and nervous.
In the past week they met many people, bonded with girls who were in the same process and were grateful for the once in a lifetime experience they just went through.
"It was fun to bond with the other girls on our floor," said Renee Spurlin, one of four girls on the third floor of Schurz Hall who signed with a sorority this week.
As they lined up on Saturday by the Columns, each woman opened their bid cards, and giggles, smiles and even tears spread about. The recruitment experience had ended, the names had been picked, and a week of wearing high heels and dresses had finally paid off.
Fraternity members sat in lawn chairs to watch the women. Past the lawn chairs, though, there was a recruitment class of freshman and sophomore men who were also making choices that would affect the rest of their time at college.
Visiting houses every day isn't always enjoyable, said freshman Jeremy Bennett, who participated in fraternity recruitment, but the thought of at one point signing with a fraternity is what kept him on his feet. Many men participated in informal recruitment during the course of the summer, which made some house space limited and the formal recruitment class smaller.
By the end of the week, though, friendships had been made and feelings of happiness had formed. After signing into their new homes, sighs of relief were heard everywhere. The verdicts had been in, and the guys moved into their new houses with hopeful feelings.
On the other side of the field, though, are the people who make recruitment week possible. The men and women who spend hours decorating houses and getting ready for new anxious faces also get weary as the week trucks on. Each of the sororities have their own little activities and their particular themes for each day.
Jen Wertenburger offered some insight about the various specifics that occurred in the Gamma Phi Beta house. On the first day, the 16-party day, all sororities had more of a "Go Greek" type of attitude, she said. Everyone wore basic T-shirts, each sorority showing off a different color. The first day was informal, as the women were eased into the way that rush week works. As the next few days rolled around, activities became more specific, and attitudes became more personal for each house. A casino theme filled one full day, and jungle day followed, during which the sorority members wore animal print.
As fun as the activities were, not everything happened perfectly. The night before being used, a spotlight burned out in the Gamma Phi Beta house. With girls coming the following morning, the sorority members were forced to take a midnight run to Wal-Mart to buy new lights. Luckily, the new lights worked flawlessly.
Kristin Linnemeyer said some fun things happened at Chi Omega during the week, as well. On the first day, with reputations being formed in the open minds of the women, one of the Chi Omega members accidentally blew the fog horn early, resulting in the sorority members being forced to run out of their house four minutes early. Nothing beats the balloon fiasco, though, that also occurred in the house. One of the balloons that had been used to decorate the ceilings caught on fire as it made contact with a chandelier. Sorority members quenched the fire immediately. The house was saved, and everyone was OK.